“If you’re not different you don’t exist.”
Is an important marketing concept and with its corollary:
“If you’re too different you scare people.”
they frame the operating range for most marketing. This applies to products, services and, as we found in Sherbrooke, Quebec, cities.
Like many former industrial town Sherbrooke has been shrinking. The old industrial tax base has been eroded as the mills that originally depended on water power from the river gorge in town closed. Somehow or another Sherbrooke hit on the idea of using the large walls of the old mills as a canvas to paint huge life size murals all over the town and then promote walking tours to see them. Is it working? They are financing new murals each year and have published a tourist guide book. And the murals are very cool.
Murals are taken but there are lots of opportunities for other towns to do similar things with their old infrastructure. For instance Detroit could put classic cars all over the city. Rt 66 is already being used as a successful tourist draw all the way from Chicago to LA. I wrote about using that idea for Route 17 on the East Coast. Paducah, Kentucky and Sisters, Oregon are quilt cities. We could have book cities, record cities and airplane cities.